"You will crash." I've been total this a couple times since I've started riding. "It is inevitable if you ride a lot. Everyone does it at some point." When I first started riding, I was down right petrified of falling. And seeing as I could barely stop properly or clip in my shoes without toppling over, I had every right to be. However, over the past year, I've gotten more confident and less paranoid about falling. Maybe it doesn't have to happen me...
So this Sunday, we had just finished climbing and Mark was having me pound the flats. Mark and Glen have been my unofficial cycling coaches since I started this mid-life crisis triathlon mania. And can't thank them enough. I've definately come a long way on the bike and Sunday was no exception. I could tell I was riding the best I ever have on that trail.
We were on a the River Mountain Trail Loop, which is a road bike trail, but it also has it's fair share of pedestrians in certain parts. It's not unsafe to get going pretty fast on the trail, as we are unsually the only ones on it. But of course, we always slow way down when we see a pedestrain and call out to let them know we are coming.
So that's how it was. I was going about 30mph and there was not a soul in sight and Mark was right behind me telling me I could catch up with the rest of the group, push a harder gear... Then I see this guy on a skateboard. He's off the trail. I'm not sure what he's doing. Then suddenly he jumps on the trail, not facing me, in my lane of traffic. This is not good. I yell out "On your left!", start to brake, and pass him on the left. Please, just stay where you and everything will be fine. But I'm going really fast, and this guy is oblivious. I could see the ipod headphones in his ears. Then he jumps on his skateboard and slides into the left lane. OH SH*T!!!! I've got nowhere to go. I'm off the trail. I'm in the rocks. He's still moving to the left. I'm going to hit him. BAM! I feel myself slam into him. We're flying through in the air together. I'm gonna hit the ground soon. This is gonna suck. I'm really gonna get hurt. BOOM! Thud. Ugh. I felt my body hit the ground, then my head. I jumped up. And...I was fine. Oh my God. I'm alive. I'm ok. I walked over to the skateboarder who had landed just a few feet away. "Are you ok?" I asked him.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Dude I'm so sorry. Are you ok?"
"Yeah. I'm fine too. Wow, are you sure you're ok? Are you hurting anywhere?" He showed me his hand which had a small cut, and one of his knees was a little scraped up. But other than that, he was indeed fine, and walking around. I apologized that I didn't have any wipes or bandages to help clean up his cuts. I think after this, I'm gonna start carrying some on my bike.
By this time, Mark had gotten over to us. He seemed just about as shocked as we both were. And kept asking over and over again if we were ok. After we established again that we were, miraclously, unharmed. I looked over at my bike. It looked ok. But the handlebars were bent up and one of the shifters had been torn clear off. "Can I ride it back to the car?" I asked Mark.
"Yeah. I think you should be fine. But it's definately a little busted up."
Better the bike than me. So the skateboarder and I parted ways after asking each other one last time if the other was ok and marveling at how incredibly lucky we both were. He started walking back to the neighborhood next to the trail, and Mark and I started riding down the trail back to the car which was only a couple miles away.
"Man, I just can't believe that crash! On a scale of 1-10, that was like an 11. I was scared to go back and see you. I thought you were gonna be torn up. And what the hell was that jackwagon doing riding his skateboard in the middle of the trail with those damn things in his ears? That just pisses me off. "
"It's ok. I'm fine. He's fine. That fact alone is amazing. I'm not mad. I'm just happy to be in one piece. This is the luckiest day of my life, honestly."
"Man! I just can't get over that crash. It was so high speed. You just plowed into him like a football player. You threw him into the air like chair at a picnic. (I had to laugh-what a great simile.) And then you just jumped up like it was nothing. You are tough."
"Yeah, too bad I didn't have a helmet camera on. I could have sold the footage to Jackass. And I'm not tough, just lucky. Very, very, lucky."
And I am lucky. When I got home, all I could find were a bunch of bruises on my right arm and leg. All in all, a miracle. No road rash, no broken bones, still had all my teeth intact. And the skateboarder. He wasn't even wearing a helmet. When I think of all the things that could have happened... Good God, we were fortunate.
So now I've gotten the inevitable crash out of the way. Hey, I've always done things in a big way. Hopefully, that will be my last time. Or at least my last time crashing at 25 mph.